Manchester United followers atop the cavernous Camp Nou have been singing tribute songs to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lengthy after this good and thrilling match ended, and it definitely felt like previous instances.
“A little bit of a throwback,” mentioned Paul Scholes on BT Sport. It definitely was.
Not only a throwback to Solskjaer’s unforgettable purpose within the 1999 Champions League remaining victory over Bayern Munich right here, but in addition to the times when United and Barcelona battled it out for the largest prize in Europe.
These two golf equipment don’t make it boring, not even within the Europa League. Among the finest matches in soccer final evening produced a present on the top of its highest billboard in a packed Camp Nou.
Marcus Rashford lit up the previous place. He was nearly unplayable for durations within the second half. Rashford scored one, his 14th purpose within the final 16 video games, to degree United within the second half and created one other.
Marcos Alonso opened the locals strongly within the second half, opening the scoring within the fiftieth minute of the sport
Marcus Rashford scored his fourth in as many video games simply two minutes later to degree the guests.
A Jules Kounde personal purpose allowed the Pink Devils to take the lead simply 9 minutes after trailing.
Raphinha equalized to make it 2-2 within the 76th minute to disclaim the guests an important first leg victory within the Europa League play-off.
On the eve of this match, Barca boss Xavi described Rashford as one of the vital harmful strikers in Europe and he appeared prefer it, taking part in a central position that isn’t meant to carry out the perfect in him. Who says?
He put United inside 14 minutes of beating Barca for the primary time right here. Who is aware of how this recreation would have turned out if referee Maurizio Mariani had despatched off Jules Kounde for a problem on Rashford when United have been nonetheless 2-1 up?
The contact was made exterior the field, so there was no penalty, however Kounde can contemplate himself a fortunate boy that the Italian official took no motion.
Taking the lead by former Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso, Barcelona equalized with a purpose from one other acquainted Premier League participant, Raphinha, to go away this tie on a degree taking part in discipline forward of subsequent week’s second leg at Outdated Trafford.
What a primary leg it was. From finish to finish, blow by blow. Two of the greats of Europe confronted one another as if a Champions League remaining have been at stake, not a spot within the spherical of 16 of the Europa League. The 94,000 Camp Nou followers liked it.
United will really feel like they need to have gone house with a bonus over what, to be truthful, is way from the perfect Barcelona staff of all time. However on the finish of a heart-pounding recreation, it was the Catalans who appeared almost certainly to attain.
United got here right here with the intention of attacking, despite the fact that an unfamiliar 4-1-4-1 formation didn’t essentially really feel prefer it. Erik ten Hag’s aspect had Bruno Fernandes on the correct and Jadon Sancho switching to the left with, even stranger, 6-foot-6 ahead Wout Weghorst taking part in midfield.
“Tactical” was Ten Hag’s clarification and it labored for essentially the most half with Weghorst capable of assist stifle Frenkie de Jong and Franck Kessie within the center.
The in-form England star equalized for his aspect within the 52nd minute of the sport to proceed his personal purple patch.
David de Gea remained rooted to the spot anticipating a contact from striker Robert Lewandowski from Raphinha’s heart on
The solar had barely set under the imposing banks of the Camp Nou once we kicked off, however you shortly forgot that this was a Europa League tie kicking off at 5:45pm within the UK.
MATCH DATA AND PLAYER RATINGS
BARCELONA (4-3-3): Ter Stegen 6; Koundé 5, Araujo 6, Alonso 7 (Christensen 67), Alba 6.5 (Balde 67, 6); Pedri 6.5 (Roberto 41, 7), De Jong 7, Kessie 6.5 (Fati 67, 6); Raphinha 7 (F Torres 83), Lewandowski 6.5, Gavi 7.5.
Substitutes: Garcia, Sotorres, Married, Torre, Tenas, Alarcon.
Goalscorers: Alonso 50, Rafina 76
Reserved: Alba, Gavi
Supervisor: Xavi Hernandez 7
MAN UTD (4-1-4-1): DeGea 6; Wan-Bissaka 6.5, Varane 6.5, Shaw 7, Malacia 6; Casemiro 6; Fernandes 6.5, Weghorst 5.5, Fred 7, Sancho 5 (Garnacho 82); Rashford 8.
Substitutes: Lindelof, Maguire, Dalot, Heaton, Pellistri, Butland, Elanga, Garnacho, Iqbal, Mainoo.
Goalscorers: Rashford 52, Koundé og 59
Reserved: Varane, Casemiro, Malacia
Supervisor: Erik tenhag 7
Referee: Mauricio Mariani (Italy) 7
Fred got here inside inches of reaching the tip of Fernandes’ cross within the first 20 seconds and that set the tone.
Barcelona responded when David de Gea deflected an effort from Robert Lewandowski, and Alonso and Jordi Alba fired excessive.
Nevertheless, United created the perfect probabilities earlier than half time, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen denying Weghorst and Rashford.
If the primary half was entertaining, the second was frantic. Barca took the lead within the fiftieth minute when former Leeds favourite Raphinha took a nook to the far publish the place Alonso had already moved after pulling away from Fred.
The United midfielder had dangerous physique form and was trying within the unsuitable path when Alonso rose to plant a downward header previous De Gea’s close to publish.
United roared again and equalized simply two minutes later. Fred atoned by slipping a go between Alba and Alonso, the latter chasing down Rashford as he stormed into the field.
United’s in-form striker appeared to have taken the ball too broad together with his first contact, and a cross appeared the best choice. However Rashford is taking part in with such confidence in the meanwhile that he envisioned his probabilities and fired a shot previous Ter Stegen at his close to publish.
The England man was once more instrumental as United took the lead seven minutes later. Luke Shaw took a brief nook to Rashford and once more the best possibility appeared to be to take the ball to the left, away from Raphinha.
As a substitute, Rashford all of the sudden leaned to the correct the place there was nearly no room and beat his man earlier than working alongside the sideline. He crossed to the sting of the field the place Fernandes helped the ball by and Kounde despatched the ball over his personal purpose line.
Erik ten Hag mentioned earlier than the match that he needed his staff to take Barcelona out of their ‘consolation zone’ on the Camp Nou
Nevertheless, it is a Barcelona staff unbeaten of their final 17 video games now and so they weren’t finished but. When Casemiro executed an unusually dangerous go on the sting of his personal field within the 746th minute, the ball was intercepted and delivered to Raphinha.
He completed off a cross and the presence of Lewandowski solely appeared to confuse United, because the Pole was unable to the touch the ball because it flew between Raphael Varane’s legs and previous De Gea.
Casemiro was about to enhance, or worse, when he directed the ball in opposition to his personal publish within the frantic and remaining moments.
So we head again to Outdated Trafford to do it once more subsequent week. What luxurious.